Local officials have announced the boundary lines for two new proposed voting precincts.
The split, which still awaits approval from the Bartow County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, would halve the current Cassville voting district, which currently runs from CCC Road eastward to Joe Frank Harris Parkway and dips all the way down to the southwest of East Iron Belt Road.
The redrawn Cassville precinct would run from Fire Tower Road eastward to Cassville Road, extending southward to Grassdale Road and East Iron Belt Road. The precinct — which would encompass portions of Peeples Valley Road, Mac Johnson Road and Rudy York Road — would also have a new polling place: the Cassville Baptist Church at 1663 Cassville Road Northwest.
The senior center at 33 Beavers Drive would remain the polling place for the newly created Hamilton Crossing precinct. The boundary lines for that district would run from CCC Road to Joe Frank Harris Parkway traveling southward to Fire Tower Road; it would also encompass portions of Clear Creek Road, Matthews Road and Old Cass-White Road, among others.
“There’s some history here,” said Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk. “Years ago, we had two precincts that were a pretty big size, Beavers and Cassville, that shared a parking lot. And with the old voting system, the best thing for the voters was to combine them into one building — put all the equipment and staff in one building — and it worked fairly well.”
However, Kirk said there simply isn’t enough space at the Beavers Drive polling place to accommodate the equipment for the State’s new paper-backed electronic voting system.
“It had over 10,000 voters,” he said. “With one ballot-marking device for every 250 voters, it would take a massive facility with a lot of electrical infrastructure to handle that kind of a crowd.”
The newly proposed precincts, Kirk said, would contain a comparable number of voters.
In this case, Kirk said drawing up the new boundary lines was an easy task.
“We’re moving them back to what we used to already have,” he said. “Normally, we look at where population centers are and try to make sure there’s a good number of people for the facility that we’ve chosen and just try to keep everybody’s drive as short as possible.”
Members of the public do have 30 days to provide feedback to the local elections office on the proposed changes.
A board vote on the redrawn boundaries and polling place changes are set for an Oct. 12 meeting at 3 p.m. at 1300 Joe Frank Harris Parkway in Cartersville. The changes would take effect approximately three weeks prior to the Nov. 3 presidential election.
“If the board votes yes, then my staff goes in and updates the addresses and whatnot and makes the change permanent,” he said.
At this juncture, Kirk said it seems very unlikely that the board will vote against the proposed changes.
“We have a good plan with an excellent facility that’s excited to host us,” he said. “I think it’s going to go very smoothly.”
Kirk noted that he has no veto power over the decision.
“Whatever the board votes is what we’re going to do,” he said. “But I have every confidence that they’re going to approve this change.”
Ultimately, Kirk said the intent of the precinct split is to make the voting process as simplistic and hassle-free as he can for local residents.
“If we left it the way it was, it was going to be a nightmare on Election Day,” he said. “I think doing what we’re doing, it’s going to make it a lot easier for everybody, make it a lot faster and a lot more pleasant.”